Mets Game 37: Loss to Giants
Giants 2 Mets 0
You can’t win ’em all.
It looked as though the Mets would sweep the Giants in San Francisco, and after their many come-from-behind wins over the past week, I have to admit I had a smidgen of hope when the ninth inning began — particularly with Brian Wilson on the mound. However, it was not to be.
Matt Cain shut out the Mets in his six innings of work, and stroked an RBI single to help himself, to earn his fourth victory of the season. Cain didn’t look particularly dominating, and in fact had trouble with his command at several points — but the Mets were unable to take advantage. Twice the Mets hit into inning-ending double plays with the bases loaded.
Meantime Mike Pelfrey pitched very well through his six frames, allowing only two runs on six hits and two walks. Good, but not good enough on this day. Tough one for Big Pelf, who deserved better.
Alex Cora left the game in the third inning with a jammed thumb, suffered when he inexplicably slid head-first into second on a double when there was no play on him. (The right play is to go feet-first, ideally a “popup slide”, so that you can quickly get on your feet in the event the ball is overthrown. The only reasons you would slide head-first is to get to the base more quickly, or to avoid a tag.) Fernando Tatis took Cora’s place at short and filled in admirably.
Also doing a nice job as a fill-in was Jeremy Reed, who once again started at first base and played it like Doug Mientkiewicz. Reed and Cora accounted for two of the Mets’ five hits.
With two outs and two strikes on Gary Sheffield in the third inning, Carlos Beltran attempted to steal third. This is the umpteenth time I’ve seen Beltran display such stupidity; it’s as if he made it to the Major League level without someone explaining to him that it’s a low percentage, unhelpful play. Not to mention the fact that he likely was distracting Sheff.
Mike Pelfrey had a bad case of the balks in this game — he balked three times in the first six innings, and it nearly became a mental block. The balks appeared to be due to problems with the signals from catcher Omir Santos. I’m guessing he wasn’t seeing Omir’s fingers, maybe due to the shadows. Or, Santos may have been flashing them too quickly, or in sequences that didn’t make sense to Pelfrey, for whatever reason.
Though I was happy to see Angel Pagan return and get an at-bat (he took the disabled Carlos Delgado’s spot on the roster), I was a little surprised to see him pinch-hit for Danny Murphy with the bases loaded in the top of the eighth against lefthander Jeremy Affeldt (he hit into an inning-ending DP). Yes, from a “by the book” standpoint, you put in a RH hitter against a LH pitcher. HOWEVER, lefthanded hitters are mashing Affeldt to the tune of .391 this year, and Murphy is hitting .357 vs. lefties. Manuel’s postgame excuse was that Murphy is not hitting well “lately”. Well, Murph has had only six at-bats in the last five days and he does have “only” one hit over that span — a pinch-hit RBI single off Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum. Generally speaking, people who come off the bench cold and rip a single off Lincecum are swinging the bat “OK”, at the least. Another case of Jerry Manuel over-managing, so that he can’t be fried in the press for making a bad move … or, as we like to call it, “Manuel being Manuel”.
Did anyone else notice that Ramon Castro JOGGED to first base on his groundout to end the game? Yeah, I’m a nitpicker, but that kind of stuff wouldn’t fly on my team. Castro’s so slow that sometimes it’s hard to tell when he’s running hard and when he’s not, but he was clearly taking it easy down the first base line. I know he’s never been Charlie Hustle, but I wonder if being in Jerry Manuel’s doghouse is a factor.
Honestly, you can’t get too upset about this loss. If, on Thursday, someone told you the Mets would split the series, you’d probably be happy. If you were told they’d win three, you’d be ecstatic. A sweep would’ve been wonderful, sure, but we can’t get too greedy.
Mets travel down to Los Angeles to face the Dodgers for a three-game series. Tim Redding makes his first start of the year against Randy Wolf. Game time is 10:10 PM EST.